and rendering untenable by our troops under such circumstances of any position upon that opening front of the enemy's batteries so commandingly established. on the eastern or enemy's side of Bull Run a narrow belt of low ground of irregular width, ranging from 50 to 100, and in some places 150 to 200 yards, stretched along the banks of the creek throughout the extent of the Portici (Lewis') farord on our right to Stone Bridge on our left, and from the edge of the meadow at the foot of the hill a dense skirting of second- growth or lodfield pine covers the slope of the hill toward its summit, succeeded by a large growth of oak or original forest, clothing a part of the slope and the entire top of the ridge, and continuing on that side of the creek from opposite Ball's Ford to the turnpike road on our left.
Perceiving the impracticability of holding Bill's Ford by troops placed on its fat and uncovered bank in front of a forest and eminence such as those just described, if once allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy, it became necessary to place the troops intended forth defense of that pass upon the eminence and in the forest on the eastern side of Bull Run and on either side of the e old road crossing at that ford. Accordingly Withers' regiment, eighteenth Virginia, was ordered to occupy the wood too our left of the road, and Preston's regiment, Twenty- eighth Virginia, the forest on our right of the road, and to oppose the enemy in whatever force he might advance by guerrilla fight from every position, from every corner, from very tree, and if still overpowered by numbers and forced to yield ground, to continue the fight through the forest flanking our right of Lewis' farm toward the crest of the hill south of Lewis' house, or until they could be supported by other troops coming to their relief. Preston's regiment Twenty- eighth) also covered the approaches to the Island Ford, and one other ford below the Island Ford on my extreme right, and this was practicable in consequence of a bend of the creek to the rear of the right of that regiment (see map.).
Position of the troops of the command.
In placing the troops, dispersed, as they necessarily were, and at positions most of them so disadvantageous for defense and but partially aided by by intrenchments, it was deemed highly expedient to conceal as much as possible from the enemy a knowledge both of our numbers and strength, and even of the positions of the troops and batteries, until they were actually brought into action; and to effect here highly important objects it was decided that the troops should give up their tents, send back their wagon trains and baggage a few miles in rear toward Manassas, and bivouac in their positions. TO the exposure and hardships of the bivouac the men and officers yielded without a murmur and they remained uncovered from the time of taking position on the 17th of July until after the battle, which took place on Sunday, July 21. Having indicated the position of the Eighteenth and Twenty- eighth Regiments, covering the approaches to Ball's Ford, on my right, the Nineteenth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange, was placed on the high bank on either side of Lewis' Ford to oppose the passage of the enemy at that point. This regiment intrenched itself throughout